Ask a Question forum: Ficus elastica rubber tree questions.

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Chicago, Illinois
Papa28
Jun 5, 2017 10:31 AM CST
I've had a rubber plant for about 3 months now. The little guy has beem doing relatively fine. For some reason these random brown spots have appeared on it. I am not aware if it's a fungus, or if it's simply over watering I would hope someone can help. (This is my first post by the way thanks!)
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 5, 2017 12:01 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Papa. That's a pretty small pot for that plant, you might want to consider potting it up a size. Rubber plants are very sturdy and forgiving, but still do need some TLC.

Not sure what the brown spot might be except that's one of the lowest leaves, and it's possible the plant is just done with that leaf. Did you check the underside of the leaf to see if there might be insects? Also run your fingers along the undersides to see if you come away with a reddish stain, which might indicate spider mites. You do have some tiny light colored dots on that leaf too.

Just rinsing the top growth of the plant off under the tap, or the kitchen sink sprayer (use lukewarm water, not cold!) will often take care of spider mites if you find some. Tropical plants love a good shower anyway, so it's great to do this at least once a week or so.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Chicago, Illinois
Papa28
Jun 5, 2017 12:12 PM CST
Thanks for replying Elaine!

On the underside there is no red stains, i used a folliage clean this morning to make sure of that. It definitely is one of the lower older leaves. The upper leaves are fine, I just didn't know what to do. Whether I should leave it alone, let it fall off? As for repotting it. I will definitely make sure to do that, I just didn't know if it were time or if I should wait to see roots poking out the bottom of the drain holes?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 5, 2017 12:25 PM CST
Springtime is the best time to re-pot your plants for sure. Then the plant can put on it's summer growth uninhibited by pot restrictions.

If you can let your plant live outside for the warmest summer weather, you definitely should. They love the heat and humidity, and hate it indoors in a/c and dry air. Just give it mostly shade - a spot under a leafy tree would be perfect. Bring it indoors when the nights start to fall into the 40's.

I'd still make it a practice to give the plant a shower each week if you can, too. Looking out the window at my tropical landscape dripping in the rain, these plants LOVE their foliage to get wet. My neighbor has a rubber plant that is over 12ft. tall in his yard. We've had 3in. of rain in the last 3 days and the plants are just slurping up all that water. As long as the drainage is good, it's hard to overwater a tropical plant, generally.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Chicago, Illinois
Papa28
Jun 5, 2017 12:58 PM CST
I really appreciate all the awesome advice!

I currently kept it outside on a table that's an extension of my house, originally it was near a window inside the house. Now it's outside and catching breeze, I'll make sure to clean the leaves once a week and get right on that pot. I have it in this back house area with all the windows opened up. I've been told they drop their lower older leaves. I just wasn't sure if the little guy was dying, or if I should be worried about those two leaves having that brown spot on them. The brown spot on the pictures is on the top and the bottom of the leaves too.

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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jun 5, 2017 1:37 PM CST
I'm really not sure what the brown spots are, but advise you just keep an eye on them for now. If they change, or spread, get bigger or you get more on other leaves, post another picture. It doesn't look like a fungal infection to me. There's a little "button" like thing in the center of the spot in your first picture that I thought might be a scale insect, but it's almost unheard-of for there to be just one.

If they haven't gotten any worse in a couple of weeks, I'd just remove those two leaves and not worry.

That's a nice outdoor area you have for your plants! Little bit of sun for the sun-lovers, nice shade for the rest. Wonderful. When the water in your hose gets warmed up by the sun, give them all a little shower once in a while so they think they're in Florida. Big Grin
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Chicago, Illinois
Papa28
Jun 5, 2017 1:46 PM CST
Sounds like a plan! Thanks so much for all the advice Elaine it's been a pleasure! I'll make sure to get on it! Thanks again!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jun 6, 2017 5:16 PM CST
The brown spots that are concerning you are few and far enough between as not to be troublesome. They are not a fungus. Likely they were caused by a single episode of the soil getting a bit too dry or staying moist for a bit too long. It doesn't take much for a few blemishes to appear on plant leaves. You an leave those leaves on or remove them. They are not contagious and will not spread. Stay focused on the health of the new growth as the new leaves are what are affected by any lapses in recent care. Yours looks pretty good overall, so I think you are on the roight track.

If yours is outside in good light with lots of fresh air, then it may soon need to be moved up one pot size larger. Leave the existing soil and rootball intact and disturb the roots as little as possible when up-potting. Be sure to use a pot with drain holes and a porous, peat-based potting mix.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago, Illinois
Papa28
Jun 6, 2017 5:22 PM CST
Thanks a lot for still commenting Will!
I've removed the blemished leaves and continued taking care of it for now. I've noticed about 4 different new leaves on it. I definitely want to get it a bigger pot knowing what I know now. Thanks for the info again!

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